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East Providence, Rhode Island
City of East Providence
World War I Memorial and Taunton Plaza
World War I Memorial and Taunton Plaza
Flag of East Providence, Rhode Island
Official seal of East Providence, Rhode Island
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
Location in Providence County and the state of Rhode Island.
East Providence, Rhode Island is located in Rhode Island
East Providence, Rhode Island
East Providence, Rhode Island
Location in Rhode Island
East Providence, Rhode Island is located in the United States
East Providence, Rhode Island
East Providence, Rhode Island
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Rhode Island
County Providence County
Incorporated (town) 1862
Incorporated (city) 1958
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Total 16.61 sq mi (43.01 km2)
 • Land 13.28 sq mi (34.41 km2)
 • Water 3.32 sq mi (8.60 km2)
62 ft (19 m)
 • Total 47,139
 • Density 3,548/sq mi (1,369.9/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
02914, 02915, 02916
Area code(s) 401
FIPS code 44-22960
GNIS feature ID 1219590

East Providence is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 47,139 at the 2020 census, making it the fifth-largest city in the state.


East Providence is located at 41°48′5″N 71°21′39″W / 41.80139°N 71.36083°W / 41.80139; -71.36083 (41.801500, -71.360824).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which, 13.4 square miles (35 km2) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) of it (19.33%) is water.

The following villages are located in East Providence:

  • East Providence Center
  • Riverside
  • Rumford

The Mayor is Thomas Rose, and the City Manager is Richard Kirby.


In 1641, the Plymouth Colony purchased from the Indians a large tract of land which today includes the northern half of East Providence (from Watchemoket to Rumford), Rehoboth, Massachusetts, Seekonk, Massachusetts, and part of Pawtucket. Four years later, John Brown of Plymouth bought a considerably smaller piece of land from the Indians, which today comprises the southern part of East Providence (Riverside), Barrington, and a small part of Swansea. Finally, in 1661, Plymouth completed the "North Purchase" from which Attleboro, North Attleboro, and Cumberland were later formed. Over the whole the authorities gave the name 'Rehoboth'. The center of this large settlement, which is sometimes referred to as 'Old Rehoboth', is within the borders of modern East Providence. In 1812, the western half of Old Rehoboth was set off as a separate township called Seekonk, Massachusetts. Old Rehoboth's town center now became the heart of Old Seekonk. Finally, in 1862, the western part of Old Seekonk was ceded to Rhode Island and incorporated as East Providence.


In decades preceding the Civil War, Watchemoket Point was little more than a farming and fishing area with perhaps a few hundred residents. Watchemoket was situated directly across from the thriving city of Providence and thus benefited from the expansion of that community. More importantly, two bridges across the Seekonk River gave easy access to Watchmemoket. By the 1860s, tolls were no longer being charged to cross the Washington and Central Bridges, giving further stimulus to the growth of Watchemoket and the transformation of the village from a sleepy fishing area to the vital core of East Providence in 1862. Perhaps the first businesses to come to Watchemoket were inns built to service the large numbers of people coming through. The residents of Watchemoket also had their own library by the early 1870s. At first the organizers named it Ladies Library Association, but in 1885 they changed the named to Watchemoket Free Public Library. Already the commercial and population center of East Providence, by the mid-1880s, Watchemoket next became the political center as well. The town hall was moved from Rumford to the heart of the community, so it was more accessible. They purchased a lot on Taunton Avenue for $11,500 and erected a two-story brick building which opened in 1889. That same year the East Providence Police Department opened its headquarters in the town hall. Beginning around 1900 and continuing until the onset of the Depression in 1930, large numbers of Portuguese from Providence, Fall River, New Bedford, and Portugal settled in East Providence. By 1905, there were over 400 Portuguese in the town, the third highest in the state. The Portuguese, like other ethnic groups, were drawn to East Providence primarily by the lure of jobs. Many employment opportunities were available in the Watchemoket area, where numerous immigrants settled.


For some time after the incorporation of the town in 1862, the area around the old "Ring of the Green" was referred to as East Providence Center. The official town hall was located here until 1889, as were several churches. Moreover, the village was the population center of East Providence, containing many farms and mills along the Ten Mile River. Many people migrated from East Providence Center to the new center at Watchemoket.


From the time of the Wannamoisett purchase in 1645 to the Civil War, the shore land from Watchemoket to Bullocks Point had remained a sparsely settled fishing and farming area. When East Providence was incorporated, no more than a few hundred of its residents made the coastal village their home. The white settlers had first learned of the plentiful supply of shellfish in the area from the Wampanoag Indians. More than two centuries later, the waters of Narragansett Bay, which washed the shores of Wannamoisett, still contained an abundant supply of edible sea treasures. Clams, quahogs, and oysters were harvested by Wannamoisett residents and sold in Providence. Arnold Medberry, for instance, brought his plow to the shoreline and began picking up clams by the handful. He loaded the shellfish on a cart and easily sold his entire day's catch in Providence. At that time, Medberry and his neighbors were referred to as "clamdiggers", a derogatory term comparable to the pejorative hayseed. Already, by the early nineteenth century, individuals had begun to build summer homes, causing the population to double to about 500-600. During that time period, Cedar Grove, Lewis Station, Chimney Corners, Peck's Corner, Pleasant Bluffs, Sabin's Point, Sherman's Station, and Pomham were developed. New resort facilities were built, such as the Pomham House. Numbers of roads were lined with trees and houses, Christian Churches were formed, a library was built, and the Narragansett Engine Company was formed in 1878. By that time, the residents were no longer dismissed as "clamdiggers", but regarded as townspeople. While many transactions were taking place, Charles I. D. Looff came to Riverside. He was a wood carver for a furniture business in New York, and spent spare time in his basement carveing wooden horses as a hobby. After long years of hard work, he produced the first steam powered carousel and sold it to Crescent Park. He operated the carousel and designed a summer recreation area. By the early 1900s, New Englanders recognized Crescent Park as the leading amusement park in the region. Looff accomplished fantastic achievements and, after his death, his family continued to operate Crescent Park.

Recent development

The city has recently created a commission charged with facilitating the redevelopment of old industrial sites and brownfields along most of East Providence's 14-mile coastline on the Seekonk River as mixed use residential, commercial, and light industrial zones.

East Prov. Water
Off Warren Ave. Connector in East Providence, facing the capital.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,668
1880 5,056 89.5%
1890 8,422 66.6%
1900 12,138 44.1%
1910 15,808 30.2%
1920 21,793 37.9%
1930 29,995 37.6%
1940 32,165 7.2%
1950 35,871 11.5%
1960 41,955 17.0%
1970 48,207 14.9%
1980 50,980 5.8%
1990 50,380 −1.2%
2000 48,688 −3.4%
2010 47,037 −3.4%
2020 47,139 0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 48,688 people, 20,530 households, and 12,851 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,632.1 people per square mile (1,401.8/km2). There were 21,309 housing units at an average density of 1,589.6 per square mile (613.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 86.49% White, 5.02% African American, 0.46% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.80% from other races, and 4.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.89% of the population.

There were 20,530 households, out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.3% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.7% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 18.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,108, and the median income for a family was $48,463. Males had a median income of $34,342 versus $26,423 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,527. About 6.3% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those aged 65 or over.

The population has large immigrant communities from Portugal, the Azores, Madeira and Cape Verde.

National Register of Historic Places listings in East Providence


A.B. Hennessey School on Fort Street

East Providence has 13 public and 5 non-public schools:

Public schools


  • Agnes B. "Hennessey"
  • Alice M. "Waddington" – built 1954
  • Emma G. "Whiteknact"
  • James R.D. "Oldham"
  • Kent Heights
  • Myron J. "Francis" - built 1989
  • Orlo Avenue School
  • Silver Spring

Middle schools

  • Edward R. Martin Middle School – built 1977
  • Riverside Middle School

High school

  • Grove Ave. Educational Development Center
  • East Providence High School – built 1952
    • East Providence Career & Technical Center

Non-public elementary and junior-high schools

  • St. Mary "Bayview" Academy
  • Sacred Heart School
  • St. Margaret School
  • The Gordon School
  • Providence Country Day (P.C.D.).

Non-public high schools

  • St. Mary "Bayview" Academy
  • Providence Country Day (P.C.D.).

Notable people

  • Arunah Shepherdson Abell (1806–1888), philanthropist and newspaper publisher (Philadelphia Public Ledger and The Baltimore Sun); born in East Providence
  • Pedro Braz, soccer defender for the Gigantes de Carolina FC and Western Mass Pioneers; attended East Providence High School
  • Rebecca DiPietro, model and WWE Diva; lives in East Providence
  • John Michael Greer, author and former Archdruid; lives in East Providence
  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck, TV personality on Fox & Friends and The View; attended and graduated from St. Mary Academy – Bay View in 1995
  • Jimmy Hatlo, cartoonist, was born in East Providence
  • Claudia Jordan, model and reality TV personality (Deal or No Deal, Celebrity Apprentice); Miss Rhode Island USA (1997); grew up in East Providence
  • Jennifer Lee, co-writer of screenplay for Wreck-It Ralph; writer of screenplay for and co-director of Frozen; born in East Providence
  • Davey Lopes, second baseman and coach for several Major League Baseball teams; born in East Providence
  • Jamie Silva, football safety for the Indianapolis Colts; born in East Providence
  • Meredith Vieira, presenter of Millionaire, co-host of Today and The View; born in East Providence
  • Ron Wilson, hockey defenseman and coach for the US Olympic hockey team and several National Hockey League teams; attended East Providence High School

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